the story you tell youself

I went to dinner with a good friend from college today and her family. It was great to see them and to meet her boys. We went out for burgers. I got sweet potato fries. Now there was a time in my life when I would not have touched a sweet potato fry to save my life.

I told myself that I did not like them.

That was my story.

My friend's boys did not want to try them either: I could see their story and my past story colliding.

I went to the acupuncturist a few weeks ago. My sister has been doing a low carb diet for sometime with great success. 30 pounds gone. I would like to try it, but I can't get past breakfast.

"Kelly, what do you eat for breakfast, if not carbs?" I whined to my acupuncturist.

"Lentils, or eggs, or fruit, or soup..."

He went on and on.

"There is no way I can eat that for breakfast."

"Oh, so that is the story you are telling yourself?"

Every time I think something is impossible or I can't do something I hear Kelly's voice in my head.

Is it really impossible or is this just the story I am telling myself?

Sam tried to get me to spring off the floor last night. "Just roll on your back and then put your legs down, and pop up."

I immediately told him it was impossible...and then he helped me do it.

I guess I was just telling myself that story.

I want to change my story.

What stories do you tell yourself to keep you from change?


blurb: Half Broke Horses

by Jeannette Walls

Your childhood was horrible: bad enough to warrant writing a best selling memoir that opens up with you seeing your homeless mother rummaging through the garbage from your car window. That book was The Glass Castle. But how do you follow up that book? What more is there? A lot it turns out in the case of Jeannette Walls. In her second book, Half Broke Horses, what she calls a “true life novel” Walls tells the story of her grandmother’s life, in Texas and Arizona, where living as an eccentric was as asset, rather than a liability. Walls lets you follow along in her grandmother’s life. Self reliance forms the basis of this woman’s life outlook, which stead her well as a child hanging on to a tree all night with her brother and sister after a flash flood and again after losing everything during the depression. You have to save yourself. Walls brings her grandmother’s essence to the page. Spend some time with this woman. You won’t regret it!

Nicole’s take away: I am hoping that my book blurbs will kind of tell the reader what I really think about the book. Anyway, I loved this book. It was just wonderful, and I was a skeptic when I picked it up. A “true life novel.” Please. No, it was neat’o. Oh and I loved the pictures of her family she put in the book. So fun.


book blurb: Mennonite in a Little Black Dress

I have decided to do book blurbs instead of reviews...What do you think?

by Rhoda Janzen

At what point do you decide to return to your Mennonite roots? When you have a horrible car crash and are debilitated for months? When your husband talks you into moving way out of town, and then tells you that, turns out, after 15 years together, he is gay and leaving you for his lover? Oh did I mention he had talked you into getting a hystorectomy eariler because he did not want kids? Or is it when you decide that you just really need to go home, and home is with your strict yet highly accepting Mennonite parents? For Rhoda Janzen, it was a combination of events that lead her to reconsider her upbringing as a Mennonite. She went home and spent a year considering how her childhood had influenced her life. She doesn’t quite return to the flock, but she does closely examine her family, its history, and her love of her childhood.



heart problems suck.

if you don't feel like exercising, go to the hospital for the day.

then exercise.


plastic bag video


hi guys.
I got four comments on that last post! Thanks Laura, Erin, Dave, and Melissa! Unfortunately, I deleted them by mistake, becaues I am also getting a lot of spam comments.

Laura advocated getting a new doctor. Brent and I both want to do this, but finding one we like has proved very difficult. And my accupuncturist asked me, when I asked for a referral, why I wanted a primary care physician? To tell me what is wrong with me? I thought that was a fair question.

Erin asked if we had seen a nutritionalist. No. But, I did look into it. $250 an hour. That seemed high. So I should look further.

Dave sent along a nice diet idea.

And Melissa pointed out how redic this was.


my doctor's diet

Yes, my doctor gives me this diet every time I go to see him:

Sample 1200 Calorie Diet

One piece of toast with a pat of margarine OR
Bagle with a pat of margarine
Small glass of orange OR grapefruit juice
Decaffeinated Coffee with Skim Milk

Garden salad with oil & vinegar dressing OR
One Slice of Bread
3 oz. of Turkey OR Chicken without the skin
Diet Soda

6 oz. of chicken skinless OR Turkey Broiled OR
6 oz. of broiled fresh fish (flounder, sole OR salmon)
1 cup of fresh vegetables steamed (No lima beans or peas)
EVERY OTHER DAY you can have 1/2 of a small baked potato OR one cup of rice with
one pat of margarine.
Diet Soda

Evening Snack
One apple OR 1/4 cantelope OR 1/2 grapefruit

Really? Are there people out there who follow such a thing?

Our doctor is a)NOT a skinny guy and b)this is way too few calories for most people.


feigning interest: obama v. kim Jong-il

I ran across these pictures of Obama feigning interest in things last week. They are pretty funny and worth a look:

But then today, the same pictures of Kim Jong-il came across the internets, also worth a look::

I guess all leaders are forced to do these kinds of things...Funny.


one piece of advice

What one piece of advice would you give to your 17 year old self if you could go back in time?





cook book review: Glorious One-Pot Meals

by Elizabeth Yarnell

I ran across this book at our used bookstore. The cover had a dutch oven almost exactly like ours...so I decided to give it a go. Boy am I glad I did. Brent and I really trying to make cooking a new hobby, to save money and to eat in a more healthy manner. These meals are just perfect for the beginner.

The recipes follow the same formula: oil the pot, put your starch and liquid at the bottom, top with meat and veggies with some kind of sauce, bake at 450 for 45 minutes. Enjoy.

Elizabeth has all kinds of variations and I think the recipes are all easily scalable for bigger pots. We have only had one fail, and that was operator error.

Her website has some links to places to find cheap dutch ovens. Click here to go to the author's website.


ours v. theirs

Isn't it funny how when you use something all of the time you start to feel a sense of ownership in it? I use my yahoo email every day...and I think I own it.

When I was a kid, I thought everything in our house was mine. Didn't you? Even when my parents told me I did not own it all, I still thought it belonged to me.

I suppose this is really the deal with the Internets. We don't own it. We just use it. A lot.

I recently started another wikipedia page. I thought I could post up some interesting information about my professor who wrote that book and it would be expanded on and improved upon by the world. Instead, they wanted to delete my page not 15 minutes after I wrote it. I mentioned this to Brent and he told me about this quote from David Weinburger:

"The Net as a medium is not for anything in particular — not for making calls, sending videos, etc. It also works at every scale, from one to one to many to many. This makes it highly unusual as a medium. In fact, we generally don’t treat it as a medium but as a world, rich with connections, persistent, and social. Because everything we encounter in this world is something that we as humans made (albeit sometimes indirectly), it feels like it’s ours. Obviously it’s not ours in the property sense. Rather, it’s ours in the way that our government is ours and our culture is ours. There aren’t too many other things that are ours in that way.
So, if we’re going to talk about the value of the open Internet, we have to ask what the opposite of 'open' is. No one is proposing a closed Internet. When it comes to the Internet, the opposite of 'open' is 'theirs.'"

This is completely what happened to me: I went from being part of the group, a new Wikipedian to them, someone who tried to join the group, but was immediately shown the door. And I donate to Wikipedia!

I feel like boingboing.net belongs to me too because I go there every day and I love all the stuff they post. I hope I don't lose that happy feeling of community member there. But it does not belong to me anymore than I own my yahoo email. These things could go away or just bar me from participating and there would be nothing I could do.

I guess the bottom line, as with many things, is openness and transparency.

The good news is that my wikipedia site made the cut. Someone saved it.


this is not the story you think it is…a season of unlikely happiness

by Laura Munson

Wow. What a fun memoir. I loved it. Loved every word. I found this book at our bookstore, and it does not really come out until April. The book is the memoir by Laura Munson, who happens to live in Whitefish, Montana! Can you believe that? I think she is about 8 years older than all of my friends, but she moved to Montana the same year my family did.

The book was also summarized in a New York Times column last August.

In summary, her husband asked her for a divorce, and told her he did not love her anymore…and she responded by telling him she just did not buy it. HA. The article gives away the ending of the story, but that does not mean you should not read the book. I would say the book is kind of like (sorry Elizabeth Gilbert; I think you are wonderful) a less whiny Eat, Pray, Love.

I love how she talks to the reader. I do that to.

Her main point of the book, though, is not about her divorce, but about how she went about letting everything else go, and only seeking to find happiness insider herself. She was the only one who could make herself happy.

When I started working at POGO, Keith told me a story about working at the Gray Panthers. A lot of elderly people would call the Gray Panthers everyday looking for help with problems. Instead of just telling them they called the wrong place, Keith typed up a list of phone numbers for the commonly asked questions. His boss heard him giving out this information and told him to just hang up on the people. Keith told him, he couldn’t.

“You can pick up the phone, or you can put down the phone. You are in control of the phone.”

This phone story is a metaphor for a lot of things I think about in my life. I am in control of the phone. I think Laura feels the same way about happiness: she is in control of her happiness.

She also tells the reader how to grill the perfect burger: don’t turn it over until the juices in the burger are bubbling.

There were lots of places in this book when I wanted to call Laura up and just hang out. She could be in my friend group no problem.

This is her first published book. She has written 14. Can you even imagine? So go out there and get this one!


if you follow me

As many of you know I have been taking classes through Stanford's Online Writer's Studio for almost three years now. Wow. One of my favorite professors' book is being published today! Go forth young readers and buy Malena Watrous' book. That's right...get out there. Order it. Love it. I am sure it is wonderful. Mine is in the mail coming from Amazon I am sure...any day now.

It has gotten great reviews:
The Boston Globe

Ms. Magazine: "This tragicomic debut novel follows a spunky, feminist and perpetually wrongfooted college grad as she spends fourseasons in rural Japan escaping the memory of her father’s suicide."

And finally, it got a four star review in Romance Times Magazine.

Here's a link to her book at Amazon:
If You Follow Me

For the male readers: it will make a nice gift...and I can get everyone signed postcards if you want one to stick in the book.


taking my health into my hands

I have been passive too long. I am taking things into my own hands...I collected all of my health files tonight and started entering the information into Google health. I will also try out Microsoft's version. The programs are supposed to help you track your health...

Who knows what all of these things are? MCV? Cretin? There are many others. I will report out.


ice skating....home?

My friend Kara's sister, Ida, lives in the Netherlands with her family. I was at Kara's blog today and dropped by her sister's new blog. Her husband recently wrote a post about ice skating home...Can you imagine? I wonder how often he does this? No wonder these people now how to win Olympic medals in this sport!

Click here to read the whole post!

"I said goodbye to my colleague around 3:10 PM and walked 3 minutes to the ice. There was a big sign saying “gevaarlijk ijs” which I ignored since the whole canal was filled with recent tracks. I put on my skates and set off over the canal through the beautiful Nieuwkoopse Plassen, an old peaty-swampy area now turned nature-water reserve. I followed the “canal-signs” to Nieuwkoop and crossed three lakes and more canals. There were all kinds of people on the ice, especially on the snow-swept trails. My route was mostly uncleared so the hard work kept me plenty warm (I must admit I like ‘work ice,’ as we call ice that is not mirror-smooth).

To get to the next polder, I had to scope out where to cross the road, put my skate-protectors on and cross over to a new canal. The water level in the canal had been lowered slightly, causing water on the ice near the edges, but it was plenty strong. I followed one existing track to the junction with another canal that took me straight through the middle of a wide open polder lined with 2 windmills. I only met one other person skating. I had to cross quite a few cattle bridges on the way and although there were several tracks under every bridge, I opted to walk around since there was quite a bit of brown water on the ice due to the lowered water levels. The bigger bridges under roads were quite doable and always fun: skate hard, duck down and make sure you don’t trip while you’re under it!"

He just goes on and on! Amazing....


book of love

I love music...and I really wish that sometimes my life had a soundtrack.

My new favorite song is the cover of The Book of Love, by Peter Gabriel. The whole album is really wonderful and worth a listen.


standing v. sitting

The New York Times just did an article about the health effects of sitting all day and then sitting all night. As you can guess, sitting is really bad for you.

I posted the article below about it. Brent and I are really interested in setting up a walking work station with a treadmill, but until then, I have started standing at work. I need to make a permanent station out of wood, but I am using the reams of paper to figure out the best height. I also need to get a standing mat.

I will keep you posted about how sore I get!

New York Times, Stand Up While you Read This

"Your chair is your enemy.

It doesn’t matter if you go running every morning, or you’re a regular at the gym. If you spend most of the rest of the day sitting — in your car, your office chair, on your sofa at home — you are putting yourself at increased risk of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, a variety of cancers and an early death. In other words, irrespective of whether you exercise vigorously, sitting for long periods is bad for you.

That, at least, is the conclusion of several recent studies. Indeed, if you consider only healthy people who exercise regularly, those who sit the most during the rest of the day have larger waists and worse profiles of blood pressure and blood sugar than those who sit less. Among people who sit in front of the television for more than three hours each day, those who exercise are as fat as those who don’t: sitting a lot appears to offset some of the benefits of jogging a lot.

So what’s wrong with sitting?

The answer seems to have two parts. The first is that sitting is one of the most passive things you can do. You burn more energy by chewing gum or fidgeting than you do sitting still in a chair. Compared to sitting, standing in one place is hard work. To stand, you have to tense your leg muscles, and engage the muscles of your back and shoulders; while standing, you often shift from leg to leg. All of this burns energy.

For many people, weight gain is a matter of slow creep — two pounds this year, three pounds next year. You can gain this much if, each day, you eat just 30 calories more than you burn. Thirty calories is hardly anything — it’s a couple of mouthfuls of banana, or a few potato chips. Thus, a little more time on your feet today and tomorrow can easily make the difference between remaining lean and getting fat.

You may think you have no choice about how much you sit. But this isn’t true. Suppose you sleep for eight hours each day, and exercise for one. That still leaves 15 hours of activities. Even if you exercise, most of the energy you burn will be burnt during these 15 hours, so weight gain is often the cumulative effect of a series of small decisions: Do you take the stairs or the elevator? Do you e-mail your colleague down the hall, or get up and go and see her? When you get home, do you potter about in the garden or sit in front of the television? Do you walk to the corner store, or drive?

Just to underscore the point that you do have a choice: a study of junior doctors doing the same job, the same week, on identical wards found that some individuals walked four times farther than others at work each day. (No one in the study was overweight; but the “long-distance” doctors were thinner than the “short-distance” doctors.)

So part of the problem with sitting a lot is that you don’t use as much energy as those who spend more time on their feet. This makes it easier to gain weight, and makes you more prone to the health problems that fatness often brings.

But it looks as though there’s a more sinister aspect to sitting, too. Several strands of evidence suggest that there’s a “physiology of inactivity”: that when you spend long periods sitting, your body actually does things that are bad for you.

As an example, consider lipoprotein lipase. This is a molecule that plays a central role in how the body processes fats; it’s produced by many tissues, including muscles. Low levels of lipoprotein lipase are associated with a variety of health problems, including heart disease. Studies in rats show that leg muscles only produce this molecule when they are actively being flexed (for example, when the animal is standing up and ambling about). The implication is that when you sit, a crucial part of your metabolism slows down.

Nor is lipoprotein lipase the only molecule affected by muscular inactivity. Actively contracting muscles produce a whole suite of substances that have a beneficial effect on how the body uses and stores sugars and fats.

Which might explain the following result. Men who normally walk a lot (about 10,000 steps per day, as measured by a pedometer) were asked to cut back (to about 1,350 steps per day) for two weeks, by using elevators instead of stairs, driving to work instead of walking and so on. By the end of the two weeks, all of them had became worse at metabolizing sugars and fats. Their distribution of body fat had also altered — they had become fatter around the middle. Such changes are among the first steps on the road to diabetes.

Conversely, a study of people who sit for many hours found that those who took frequent small breaks — standing up to stretch or walk down the corridor — had smaller waists and better profiles for sugar and fat metabolism than those who did their sitting in long, uninterrupted chunks.

Some people have advanced radical solutions to the sitting syndrome: replace your sit-down desk with a stand-up desk, and equip this with a slow treadmill so that you walk while you work. (Talk about pacing the office.) Make sure that your television can only operate if you are pedaling furiously on an exercise bike. Or, watch television in a rocking chair: rocking also takes energy and involves a continuous gentle flexing of the calf muscles. Get rid of your office chair and replace it with a therapy ball: this too uses more muscles, and hence more energy, than a normal chair, because you have to support your back and work to keep balanced. You also have the option of bouncing, if you like.

Or you could take all this as a license to fidget.

But whatever you choose, know this. The data are clear: beware your chair."


let me explain why WMATA is broke...

WMATA is the DC area Metropolitan Transit Authority. They run Metro and the Metro bus system. They are always broke.

This is a picture of their headquarters at 6:15 pm almost every evening. Everyone is gone.